Name: Featherdown Cwmberach Uchaf Farm
Country: Ammanford, Wales
Cost: Around £529 for Monday-Friday break in school holidays (tent without a shower)
Facilities: Playground, farm, shower block, honesty shop
Tripadvisor rating: 5
We are just back from our first glamping holiday, and I can’t wait to share this blog post with you. I heard the recommendation for Featherdown from a thread on Facebook, and after some research, I decided to book it for our end of summer getaway. Featherdown was the brain child of the man who founded Centre Parcs. They have glamping sites all over the country (and in other countries too). Find the full list here – https://www.featherdown.co.uk/. We chose a glamping site in the South of Wales, Cwmberach Uchaf Farm, just on the edge of the Brecon Beacons.
What followed was, in the words of my husband, ‘one of the best family holidays we’ve ever had’.
To be honest, I started the journey to South Wales with some trepidation. I’m not an avid camper, I like my home comforts, I like a bit of luxury. Heck, I like a spa. Well, Featherdown most certainly didn’t have a spa, but apologies if this sounds corny, I felt more relaxed after 5 days there, than I have after many a spa treatment.
The glamping site is set on a hill above a working farm. There are 4 tents already set up, with a living area equipped with a log burning fire, gas stove, sink, sofa and a large dining table. One tent has a shower, whilst the others have a toilet and access to the communal showers near the car park area. We didn’t take the shower option but the shower complex is pretty impressive even for hotel standards, with wet rooms that fit the whole family, one which also has a bath as well as a shower. There is a relatively spacious double bedroom, another bedroom with bunk beds, and the cutest, not so little, cupboard bed off the living room. Outside the tent there are two deck chairs and a BBQ.
With the heatwave ended, it was starting to get colder when we were there. So morning wake ups consisted of attempting to start the log fire, putting on a thick jumper and walking down in our wellies to the honesty shop to get a pint of milk for breakfast. But then the magic started. Just next to the honesty shop is the chicken coop, where the eggs laid by the chickens are free to pick up and eat at your leisure. Our kids would head down the hill each morning to see if there were any freshly laid eggs. On the way, they bumped into children of similar ages from the other tents, who happened to be hunting for eggs, or playing on the rustic playground set into the base of the hill. By the end of the holiday, all 7 children had made firm friends, and were playing a spontaneous game of football on the field in front of the tents, whilst the parents were cooking on the BBQs and sipping warm cups of cocoa (or maybe that was just me!). I remember sitting back on my deckchair with my WARM mug of chocolate and looking out at my 3,4 and 6 year olds making new friends in a completely safe environment. Not much beats that feeling – total magic.
Sarah who runs Cwmberach Uchaf Farm along with her husband, is an absolute delight. Her and her husband offer tours of their working farm, and their ambitions for what they want to create for visitors of the farm in the future are inspiring. It’s refreshing to stay somewhere where you feel the genuine passion for life, and living life well, from the people that run it.
During the day, we explored many of the incredible things that South Wales has to offer. Our favorite things, and tips on what to do are below:
1. Day Trip to Mumbles
Mumbles is a beautifully quaint town by the seaside, about 45 minutes drive from the glamping site, on the edge of the Gower. It’s very child-friendly, with multiple playgrounds, soft play cafes, a kids barber and kids menus at every cafe/restaurant we looked at. But for us, its the scenery that stole the show.
We spent a morning on Bracelet Bay. This beautiful cliff side beach feels totally unspoilt, with large stretches of sand for the kids to play around in, as well as natural caves for them to explore.
There is a playground up by the parking area and a restaurant (Castellamare) if you wanted to grab a bite to eat. We didn’t eat here as there were plenty of more well rated options in the centre of Mumbles. Our recommendations for eating are: The Kitchen Table which caters brilliantly for gluten free allergies and has a mouth-wateringly long menu. Great for kids too. We also loved the Gower Seafood Hut, literally a hut on the beachfront, right by another playground and a long pedestrian stretch ideal for scootering or cycling. The chilli prawns blew my head off, and the home made chilli jam was delicious. There were other less spicy options, and the kid’s fresh fish fingers didn’t stay long on their take away plates.. For dessert, check out Joes Ice Cream Parlour, near the Mumbles High Street, another Kids paradise, with home made welsh ice cream.
Another great thing to do in Mumbles is visit Oystermouth Castle. The views overlooking Swansea Bay from the chapel window are absolutely stunning, and you could easily spend an hour or so exploring the Battlements and the ruins.
2. Day Trip to Craig-y-Nos Country Park, Pentre Riding Stables & Dan yr Ogof:
Craig-y-Nos Country Park is a 30-40 minute drive from the glamping site. We were blown away by the beautiful unspoilt natural scenery. There are rushing rivers, romantic bridges, ponds, meadows, you name it – this park seemed to have it! And with a cute coffee shop by the car park, you can lose yourselves here for a fair while.
If you are into horse riding, don’t miss out on the Pentre Riding Stables around the corner from Craig-y-Nos Country Park. They gave us a wonderful hour long horse ride and coped marvellously with a family of 5, 4 of whom had not ridden much before. Contact the manager Kirsty in advance who runs the stables to book in a time for your horse ride to avoid disappointment (01639 730639 or email@example.com)
Dan yr Ogof Dinosaur Park & Caves is a stones throw away from Craig-y-Nos Country Park and Pentre Stables. It is located at the National Showcase Centre for Wales. Not only do they have lifesize dinosaur models throughout the complex, but in addition there are 3 awe-inspiring caves that were discovered in the early 1900s. Our children loved exploring the caves, two of which are pretty deep underground, and one which is accessed through a low canopy, taking you up into the mountain top Bone Cave. There is a cafe that serves fast food options, ideal for a quick bite to eat.
This is a quaint village in the Brecon Beacons about 25 minutes on from Craig y-Nos Country Park. We spent a day here, enjoying a leisurely pub lunch at The Angel Inn, trekking to a breathtaking waterfall and winding down at the funky SGWD GWLADYS cafe/bar opposite The Angel Inn.
The reason to come to Pontneddfechan is the access to the Waterfall Country. For avid hikers, and maybe those without young children, there are some incredible (and long) walks from the village that take you to what look like stunning waterfalls. Given the ages of our kids (3.4.6) we kept our ambitions relatively tame – to get to the first large waterfall on the Waterfall Country trek. The wonderful thing about the hike is that its pretty flat all the way there. If you are walking quickly, you could get there in 30 mins. Took us more like an hour with all the ‘are we nearly there yets’. However, once we arrived at Pontneddfechan waterfall, that was all forgotten. Don’t get fooled by the first smallish waterfall you get to.. We got some local knowledge in advance and avoided the mistake I saw some others do of stopping at this small waterfall, thinking it was the climax of the hike. When you get to the first Bridge that crosses over the river, cross it and carry on the path on the other side of the river. You will then get past the clearing and see this:
It really did take our breath away. When we arrived, we were pretty much the only ones there. The kids waded through the water and we managed to get to the back of the waterfall and feel the full force of Mother Nature. Time stood still for an hour or so as we all played in this small bit of paradise. Truly an unforgettable experience.
One of the mornings, we spent at the L2 Leisure Centre in Swansea, what I can only describe as a mini Centre Parcs. They have some great slides and two children’s play areas. The wave pool has a long shallow stretch which worked great for our kids. We found it well designed for families with pretty spacious family changing rooms and overall clean environment. The kids probably enjoyed this experience more than the adults but sometimes you have to admit, if the kids are happy, the parents are happy too!
That concludes our South Wales Featherdown experience. We went home a little smellier, but a whole lot more relaxed and connected as a family. You can’t ask much more than that from a 5 day break I’d say.. Thank you for a wonderful stay Sarah & Cwmberach Uchaf Farm xx